Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Saturday. 22d. CFA Saturday. 22d. CFA
Saturday. 22d.

It had been the intention this morning to go to Medford, but our eyes were again saluted with snow which continued all day. I received a letter from my father requesting me to go to Quincy and get him those papers relating to Mr. Crawford.1 This is a fine season truly for the purpose, but I suppose winds and weather must not prevent. At any rate I would not think of going until Monday. I sat down this morning after finishing my usual occupations, to write a little Article about our railroads which are again in agitation. This took up the whole time I had to spare.

In the afternoon, I read the remainder of the Oration for Quintius with which I was much struck. It is a powerful effort for a young man, but yet smells too much of the studies pursued. It does not reach that ars celare artem, which displays itself in other Orations, afterwards. As my father says in the Analysis he made of it, it is notwithstanding a study for a young speaker.

The Evening was so stormy I did not go out but sat at home and read to my Wife from the Book upon Spain, after which I read Vossius which I regret having taken up. It teaches me little more than I knew from Cicero. Afterwards, I began the last volume of the Tatler, and saw poor George’s marks and comments before me. Among the latest Acts of his Life was reading the British Essayists.2

1.

William Harris Crawford (1772–1834) of Georgia was secretary of the treasury in President Monroe’s cabinet while JQA was serving as secretary of state. In ill-health and bitter retirement after successive disappointments in his quest for the Presidency, he sought for several years after 1828 to foster a rift between President Jackson and Vice-President Calhoun by maintaining publicly that in the Cabinet meetings of July 1818 on the first Seminole War it was Calhoun who had proposed that Gen. Jackson be disciplined for having exceeded his authority in invading the Spanish province of Florida. In April 1830 Crawford’s accusation was published in a letter and the controversy blazed. On 5 July he had written to JQA stating his recollections of those 407meetings and asking for JQA’s. JQA replied on 30 July, not speaking to the point of who proposed the censure of Gen. Jackson but affirming that he, JQA, had at that time opposed any censure and that he still adhered to that position. On 12 Jan. 1831 Calhoun wrote JQA (letter in Adams Papers), asking for a copy of JQA’s letter to Crawford and requesting any further records or recollections that JQA had that bore upon the issue. On 14 Jan. JQA wrote to CFA (letter in Adams Papers) asking him to make copies of Crawford’s letter and JQA’s reply. Two copies of each letter in CFA’s hand are in the Adams Papers. Subsequently, extracts from the correspondence and other documents relevant to the controversy were published in Niles’ Register , 40:11–45 (5–19 March 1831). See also entry for 22 Feb., below; Bemis, JQA , 2:212–215; and JQA, Diary, 14 Jan. 1831, printed in JQA, Memoirs , 8:274–277.

2.

The Tatler is contained in vols. 1–4 of the edition of The British Classics published at London in 1813 in 24 volumes. The copy in MQA bears GWA’s signature and the date 1823. At the opening of the first number, in CFA’s hand, are the dates 10 Oct. 1830 and 12 Feb. 1855; following the last number of the Tatler, also in his hand, is the date 3 March 1831.

At the conclusion of the Preface to the final volume of the Tatler (vol. 4), in GWA’s hand, is written: “The closing paragraph is admirable both in sentiment and style. And a very apt close of a moral and delightful book. The Tatler indeed abounds in the finest forms of English composition upon an immense variety of instructive and familiar topics.” In the course of the volume there are marginalia in his hand, and GWA has written following the final paper the date, 18 Dec. 1828, and a comment which concludes: “I have this morning finished the Tatler. Of its merits and value I shall speak elsewhere only saying here that this reperusal has strengthened the feeling with which I first closed it, that it is a useful instructive entertaining and agreeable book.”

Sunday. 23d. CFA Sunday. 23d. CFA
Sunday. 23d.

This was a severely cold morning. The winter has now set in with all vigour. We have snow as an alternation from intense cold. I attended divine service and heard Mr. Frothingham preach upon the subject of regeneration. I did not feel interested in the Sermon from the chill my feet had experienced from walking over the frozen ground. Heard of Abby’s brother Edward having a daughter yesterday.1 Returned home, and decided that it was not worthwhile to expose one’s self to suffering for the mere possibility of hearing uncomfortably.

I read Middleton’s Life of Cicero, in which my progress was considerable. This day is the only one in which I progress in that book and in Mr. Drake’s. I also wrote to my Mother a long letter, to answer for the Winter.2 Evening a visit from Mr. Tarbell, after which Vossius and the Tatler.

1.

Anne Gorham Brooks (d. 1848). Brooks, Medford , p. 531.

2.

CFA to LCA, 24 Jan., Adams Papers; an answer to LCA’s letter to him of 5 Jan., Adams Papers.

Monday. 24th. CFA Monday. 24th. CFA
Monday. 24th.

This morning was colder than any we had yet experienced. I do 408not know how long this is going to last, but I think the sooner it is over the better. I wished to go to Quincy and actually ordered a Carriage for the purpose, but I was informed that the Snow was lying so deep that two horses could not get along and I felt too cold to venture out in an open Sleigh. So I gave up the idea.

My morning was passed partly in finishing my Article upon Railroads and partly at the Probate Office passing my second account upon the Estate of Mr. New, which I at last got through with. This is very good, for now the rest is plain. To be sure the Creditors have not received any satisfaction, but that is not my fault. I have not been paid for my trouble and am not likely to be. All I know about it is, that I have done my best.

In the afternoon, I began the Oration for Sext. Roscius of Ameria and read through the first half with ease, so that I found my previous study of them much more valuable than I had imagined. It is wonderfully able. The exposition of the whole conduct of the freedman of Sylla and the two relations of Roscius is in the very first style of an Orator. Evening, reading the book upon Spain after which, Vossius and the Tatler.